Reggaeton, roast chicken, and research communications: meet Julia Ahrens

15 May 2020

Crawford School introduces our fantastic staff, so you can meet the people of Asia and the Pacific’s leading graduate policy school.

As well as being home to some of Australia’s leading public policy experts, Crawford School is home to an outstanding, dedicated group of staff in marketing, communications, student services, executive education, and a range of other non-academic fields. Today, we talk Julia Ahrens about coping in the corona-crisis, roast chicken as art, and her work in research communications.

What do you do at Crawford School and what do you enjoy most about it?

I’m working as Communications & Marketing Coordinator in the Communications & Engagement team. From web stories to podcasts, my main task is to produce content across all of Crawford’s online platforms. Whilst finishing my masters in international relations, I did various internships in research and journalism, so I was looking for a profession that would bring these two parts together. Turns out, research communication was the missing puzzle piece I had been looking for. My job at Crawford allows me to work in my field of interest – politics and policy – whilst using my language skills to express complex research work in much simpler words. I feel lucky to be working with an incredibly creative and high-achieving team, and with some of the best and brightest public policy researchers in the region and the world.

Can you tell us about one of your personal highlights working at Crawford School?

For me, the launch of our strategic plan was an absolute highlight. A lot of work went into organising this event, and it really showcased the amazing results we can achieve when professional and academic staff work together to achieve a common goal. Overall, I really enjoy seeing our podcast listener numbers grow and grow – it is testament to the hard work that this team has been putting into developing new and interesting episodes each week.

If you could go back and choose a different career path, what would it be?

I think I’d love to study medicine, but my inability to see people suffer would’ve been a major roadblock in a career like that. I haven’t given up on the idea of combining my current work with my interests in the medical field – I’d be keen to do another master’s in public health and eventually end up in health communications. Never say never!

Can you tell us about a feel-good dish that you or someone in your family makes in stressful times?

My partner has roast chicken down to a fine artform, so that’s always a goer on a cosy Sunday night when it’s cold outside. Otherwise there’s nothing that makes me happier than a big plate of sushi. I can’t make it myself, but it is my absolute favourite and a sure-fire way to cheer me up during difficult times.

Can you give us your top 3 tips about how to stay positive during the COVID-19 outbreak?

Dance, even if you’re not a great dancer. Just turn up some music and dance through your living room. I take Zumba and Reggaeton classes online at least three times a week – it’s one of the only things that makes my mind shut up for a few minutes!

Find an engaging computer/console game to play. If you enjoy games, see if you can find a great co-op game that you can play with your friends or partner online – I’d recommend Diablo or Age of Empires III.

Stay in touch with friends and family and find some fun activities that you can do together whilst being apart. Particularly if your family lives at the other side of the world, this pandemic will undoubtably challenging for you. I try to skype with my family and friends in Europe most weekends, and, with my friends in Australia, I organise trivia quizzes via Zoom.

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Updated:  28 September 2020/Responsible Officer:  Crawford Engagement/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team